HIPPIES SUPPORT QUENTIN PAPER
Five hundred hippies danced and sang on a grassy knoll outside San Quentin Prison Thursday in a show of sympathy for the men behind the walls.
The songfest involving long-haired, bearded young men and sack-wearing girls was to coincide with a threatened strike of prison inmates which never materialized.
The Grateful Dead played for the flower children on the sunny hillside overlooking San Francisco Bay.
They hung flowers on the iron prison gate and let a few balloons bearing peace symbols float over it into the enclosure. A sign saying "rehabilitate the penal system now" was posted outside the gate.
The tribal gathering was touched off by an appeal in an "underground" prison sheet calling for a strike by San Quentin's 3,900 inmates against alleged mistreatment.
But Associate Warden James W. Park said the day was uneventful inside the walls. Prisoners were bustled off to their jobs an hour early as precaution against possible intimidation by those agitating for the strike.
Absenteeism from work in the shops was normal, the warden's office said. Some agitators, including those who published "The Outlaw," had been disciplined. The call for a strike in the underground sheet had been picked up by the "Berkeley Barb," a hippie newspaper last week.
The Greatful Dead rock group set up their electronic gear on a flatbed truck and the music blared out for about three hours. The convicts may have picked up a few strains of it before their late afternoon meal. The hippies trickled away as darkness came.
The real highlight of the day in San Quentin was the graduation exercise for 373 inmates who completed various phases of education, from grammar school to college education courses.
(from the Hayward Daily Review, February 16 1968)
Thanks to Lost Live Dead.
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A similar piece from the LA Times...
STRIKE CALL FIZZLES AT SAN QUENTIN
SAN RAFAEL - An underground newspaper at San Quentin Prison called on 2,700 convicts to strike Thursday.
But less than 50 did - despite the moral support of 250 Bay Area hippies who staged a flower-power rally outside the prison gates.
The Outlaw, a will-o'-the-wisp newspaper published sporadically since last June by prisoners at San Quentin, called for a "unity day" strike to enforce demands for earlier releases and better living conditions and food.
The Berkeley Barb, an anti-establishment newspaper which is the San Francisco-area equivalent of the Los Angeles Free Press, heard about the strike plan and publicized a rally to back prisoners' demands.
Prison walls rarely divided one world from another more dramatically than they did Thursday at the huge prison near here.
Outside, bearded men, long-haired women, and laughing, squealing children meandered with dedicated aimlessness along the road that ends at San Quentin's silver-painted gate.
They garlanded the gate with yellow wildflowers, briefly blocked traffic, taunted unsmiling guards with friendly jibes, then wandered onto a spit of land which juts into San Francisco Bay and listened to musicians from a group called The Grateful Dead play a folk-rock concert.
Inside, it was another tough day in a tough place. Uniformed, neatly barbered convicts followed the countless clocks that told them exactly when to be exactly where. And, said, prison officials, it was a day of work as usual:
Tough, blunt-spoken warden L.S. Nelson, 58, told a reporter:
"The great bulk of the population went about their work as if they'd never heard of The Outlaw."
Perhaps one reason was that they had heard what had happened to the Outlaw staff. . . .
[The rest of the article details the various punishments for the prisoners who called for a strike - being shipped to Folsom or put in solitary.]
(by Dial Torgerson, from the Los Angeles Times, 16 February 1968)
See also http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2009/12/grateful-dead-san-quentin-performances.html